Have you ever worked somewhere were you just felt alienated to the point that you would ask yourself everyday, “Why am I here?”
I transitioned from short-term sub to Long Term Substitute at the start of this current school year. I will be here until the school year is complete and then move on. I would consider staying on but the concept of “Self-Contained Learning” is changing next year and they eliminated my position. At least that is my best guess why the position was eliminated.
Back to the point of this post.
I DON’T BELONG HERE!
I am not certified. It’s that simple. Unless you are certified you are not able to be paid the same as a certified teacher, even if you are doing exactly the same thing. I am doing what a certified teacher would be doing in my position. I am working full-time for the same period of time. I am responsible for writing lesson plans.
So, you may ask, what is the problem?
- As a Long Term Substitute I get paid day to day, not based on a full time job. This means I don’t get paid for holidays longer than 1 day.
- Although I am full-time I am not considered a “Permanent” employee so I do not get retirement benefits or extra paychecks from the School Levy. This particular point really ticks me off since I live in the county and pay a large bill every year towards a levy they don’t let me share. I have voiced concern over this but it goes unnoticed because, well, I am not part of their “IN-GROUP”.
- I still have to participate in all the same training and meetings outside of teaching even though it means nothing to me as a LTS.
Certification – I was actually prepared to become certified if it meant I could continue in my position while going through the Alternative Certification Program. With “budget cuts, and the possible reorganization of RESA-8, this program has been stopped and any possibility of me going through an Alternative Certification program is DEAD. You may ask why I don’t go back to school? If you know me then you know I cannot NOT pay my mortgage, or raise my kids and go to school at the same time.
Kind of like the Old Brotherhood of Japan, Mafia of Italy, Mob of Russia and other tight closed groups, Public Education protects itself from the outside world. if you are not certified DON’T approach. Keep your distance.
It’s pretty ironic since they do need the support of the business community. They need business people to come out of retirement and become teachers but they are only willing to take us on as short and long term substitutes. They are so HIGH AND MIGHTY with their “Certificates” that the rest of us are lowly in comparison. You can have a Masters or PhD in something, but if it is not in Education, FORGET IT!
A week before the current school year I was called by the principal of Washington High School in Charles Town, WV to cover a vacancy for a Multi-Categorical Special Education position. The role includes a Self-Contained class of 8 students with IEP classifications and 5 Inclusion classes that I “Co-Teach” with another teacher. The subject for the class is Earth and Space Science. I am a Long-term Substitute teacher, licensed but not Certified.
In 10 short days we will finish the 3rd of 4 9-week teaching periods.
As I write this I am finishing our 5th Period. it is our largest inclusion class and by far the most rambunctious group. Every kid in the class is, in their own way, a pleasure to teach, but when you bring them together it can be quite energetic.
More to come…
One of our teachers invited fellow teachers to be guest speakers in her classroom today during their planning periods. I signed on when I heard about it thinking I could tell these seniors all about my day 15 years ago. It never occurred to me that I had bottled up a lot of pent up energy and memories that I never really talked about with anyone. I have certainly talked to friends and others about what I did that day but never to a group.
What I thought would be relatively easy turned out to be hard at times. I knew people who were lost that day and have stayed very active with those that the US has lost since 9/11 in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but until I started my short speech today I did not realize how that day truly effected me.
Simply put, 9/11/2001 changed America for ever. Unfortunately it has also changed the lives of millions of people around the world who have died in wars we have inflated or created because of that day. Our leadership has relaxed many rules and regulations allowing for enormous increases in insurance costs, inflation, pathetic trade agreements, and a seamless end to inequality.
I am encouraged to write a new book on my personal flash bulb memories.
If and when I find time…
I felt like Justin Bieber today.
I took my youngest to the Sweet Frog in Charles Town today. As usual my son headed right to the back of the store to get a cup. As we passed 3 teenagers who were sitting there I quickly recognized 2 of them from classes I subbed for last year. When they recognized me they both said “We love you.”
Yes, I was a great sub and always nice to the kids. I never Had a welcome like this but it made me happy to know I did a good job.
For just that moment I felt like a music star, but I am admittedly MUCH older than Justin Bieber.
If there was one thing that irritates (not enough to tell anyone outside of this blog) me more than anything else is the question I get almost every time I substitute teach.
The question is not, what are you teaching today?
They always ask “Who are you today?”
I honestly don’t try to memorize the name of the teacher I am replacing. Sometimes I know the person and will remember.
When someone does ask me who I am, I tell them “Steven Douglas”.
More often than not, they don’t like my answer. Especially when they don’t know who I am.
As I mentioned in an earlier post regarding when to, or when not to, report something to Child Protective Services, it is ALARMING to me the lack of information provided to me, as a short term substitute when arriving for a job.
Disclaimer – when I came to my current 30-day job, the IEP coordinator came to me early on to make sure I read through the IEP binder kept in the room (under lock and key of course) so I am aware of learning disabilities and behavioral concerns of the kids.
Today was a 1/2 day. The kids were released at 12:45PM. Teachers then went into Committee Groups from 1-1:30PM. We all met in the auditorium at 1:30PM for a Teachers Council meeting. The administrative discussion was of no interest to me but they had a guest speaker from Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (BRCTC) who is a foster parent. She gave a 10 minute speech on what teachers need to be aware of when relating to students who are also “foster” children. She spoke about some very important things but what I took away most was the concept that CHANGE is a foster care child’s main enemy.
SHORT TERM SUB = CHANGE / INSTABILITY
As she left the auditorium, I followed her out to ask her some questions since not a single question was asked from the audience and being a short term long term sub I did not want to be the only person asking questions.
My question was, do teachers KNOW if a child is in foster care? Is this noted on a child’s IEP, assuming they have one? She told me that there are kids in the program who do have IEP’s but whether or not they’re being foster care kids being noted on the IEP’s is something that is not guaranteed as there is a great deal of secrecy involved in foster care management.
I had a chance to speak with the Special Education co-teacher in my classroom who did tell me which kids in our classes had issues similar to foster care if not directly. This information is NOT noted on their IEPs. Rather in the case of our students, their foster parents made her aware of their situation. In some cases the kids told her directly. After she shared what “unofficial” information she had, I have a much needed background on a bunch of MY STUDENTS that will make me a better, more concerned, educator for the rest of my short tenure at this job.
Back to my overarching question, should short term subs be informed of children in their rooms that have “concerns”? Considering the CHANGE issue, and the fact that I represent change and instability in the room. I have been told that as a substitute I should contact the office whenever their is an issue and not make it my issue to deal with. Perhaps this rule is important as I will imagine most substitute teachers have NO training to deal with these kids. Perhaps regrettable is, that in hindsight, the damage is already done when a substitute unknowingly mismanages a situation before being able to get help.
But I feel that it would be helpful to inform Subs of serious concerns with kids, not only for the benefit of the children, but also for the SAFETY OF THE SUBS?
Follow Up: I spoke to the principal of my current school who confirmed that Foster Care status is completely classified and teachers (much less substitute teachers) are NOT informed of this status.